Schwangere Frau mit Hashimoto

Hashimoto's Disease and Pregnancy

What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to chronic inflammation. Over time, this can result in an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Women are approximately four times more likely to be affected by Hashimoto's than men.

Treatment aims to control symptoms and normalize hormone levels through the administration of thyroid hormones.

Causes of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

The causes of Hashimoto's are not fully understood, but a combination of genetic predisposition and immunological triggers is believed to play a role. Stress and hormonal changes, such as puberty and menopause, can contribute to Hashimoto's. Excessive iodine intake, iodine excess, can also increase the risk. The condition often coexists with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in women.

Typical Symptoms of Hashimoto's

Typical symptoms of Hashimoto's with hypothyroidism include fatigue, lethargy, weight gain, constipation, hair loss, brittle nails, dry skin, depressive mood, heart rhythm disturbances, and menstrual irregularities. The disease is often diagnosed late, as individuals attribute the factors to a stressful lifestyle.

Getting Pregnant with Hashimoto's

Both underactive and overactive thyroid function can lead to reduced fertility and decrease the chances of successful conception. The good news: careful monitoring and adjustment of thyroid hormone levels by a specialist can increase the chances of pregnancy.

Hashimoto's Disease During Pregnancy

Thyroid levels are regularly monitored once pregnancy begins. The need for thyroid hormones increases by up to 30% during pregnancy, and patients usually continue to receive L-Thyroxine.

Pregnant women with Hashimoto's receive varying recommendations regarding iodine intake. Increased iodine intake can worsen the autoimmune reaction, while insufficient iodine can harm the child's development.

Individual iodine status should be discussed with a specialist. In case of uncertainty, experts advise increasing iodine intake. Studies show that iodine deficiency can lead to brain damage in the unborn child.

The increased need for iodine can be met through high-quality micronutrients and natural sources such as fish, especially cod, salmon, and seafood.

Safe Breastfeeding with Hashimoto's Disease

After childbirth, it is crucial to closely monitor thyroid levels. If the hormone levels are not properly adjusted, it can lead to difficulties in breastfeeding.

Mothers with Hashimoto's can breastfeed without concerns, as breastfeeding cannot cause chronic Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Note that breastfeeding increases the need for L-Thyroxine. After weaning, thyroid levels should be reevaluated and adjusted if necessary.

Post-Pregnancy: Postpartum Thyroiditis

About 10% of women experience postpartum thyroiditis, a temporary thyroid inflammation, after giving birth. This usually does not result in a chronic thyroid dysfunction. Nevertheless, regular thyroid level checks by a specialist are recommended.